How to Create a Vertical Line Graph in Google Sheets

This guide will explain how to create your own vertical line graph in Google Sheets.

Since vertical line charts are not a common way of visualizing data, users need to use a workaround to create such a chart with the default line chart option.

Line charts are primarily for visualizing data over a specific period. For example, we can use a line chart to keep track of the number of items a business sells across several months. 

In the regular line chart, our x-axis or horizontal axis represents the time series data. The further right we go in the chart, the further in time each data point will be. Meanwhile, our y-axis or vertical axis represents the numeric value of the quantity we’re tracking. 

If we want to create a vertical line graph, we must switch the vertical and horizontal axis. In this new graph, the further to the right you are in the chart, the higher the numerical value. Users can set up the vertical line graph to read from top to bottom or vice versa.

Now that we know how to begin creating a vertical line graph in Google Sheets, let’s look at a sample spreadsheet that includes an interactive vertical line graph.

 

 

A Real Example of a Vertical Line Graph in Google Sheets

Let’s take a look at a real example of a Google Sheets spreadsheet that uses a vertical line graph.

In the example below, we can find a vertical line graph. Instead of the time series being presented with the x-axis as the date values, the graph uses the date values as the y-axis. The number of cumulative sales is used as the x-axis.

vertical line graph in Google Sheets

 

Using the graph above, we can still parse that the number of cumulative sales has increased from 0 to over 500 in twelve months.

We can also create another vertical line graph that can be read from bottom to top. In the example below, the data point for January starts at the bottom, and December is placed at the top of the chart.

alternate vertical line graph in Google Sheets

 

You can make your own copy of the spreadsheet above using the link attached below. 

If you’re ready to create your own vertical line graph in Google Sheets, head over to the next section to learn how we did it!

 

 

How to Create a Vertical Line Graph in Google Sheets

This section will guide you through each step needed to create your own vertical line graph in Google Sheets. Learn how to switch the x-axis and y-axis to convert your typical horizontal line graph into a unique vertical format.

Follow these steps to set up your own vertical line graph:

  1. Vertical line graphs can visualize cumulative data or data that is already in ascending or descending order. In the example below, we have a dataset of monthly sales for a business. Column C keeps track of the cumulative sales per month.
    add another column for cumulative data
  2. We must add a helper column to act as our y-axis. In this example, we want our January data point to start at the top and slowly descend for each successive month. To facilitate this, we give the first row the value of 12 and lower the number by one for the succeeding rows.
    add helper column for sequence of month
  3. In the Insert menu, click on the Chart > Line option. A chart editor panel should appear on the right-hand side of the screen. Select your dataset as the Data range. In this example, we selected our cumulative data in cells C1:C13 as our X-axis.
    select x-axis for vertical line graph in Google Sheets
  4. Next, we should add our helper column as its own series in the chart. This column will specify how high each data point is placed in our line chart. In this example, we’ll add the range D1:D13 as a series.
    add new series to add sequence
  5. Next, we’ll add the month name as a label to our series. Click on the options seen on the right of the Series item. In the dropdown menu, click the Add labels option.
    add month name as label
  6. Select the month name as the label range. In this example, we’ll specify the cell range A1:A13 as a label for our line chart series.
    select range with month name
  7. Your line chart should now be ready for viewing. Users can modify the minimum and maximum values to show in the graph to improve the look and feel of the actual graph.
    vertical line graph in Google Sheets

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Can we use vertical line graphs for quantities that increase and decrease as time progresses?
    In the examples given above, we’ve used cumulative data as an x-axis. Since cumulative data always increases, our vertical line graph follows a continuously rising or descending line. However, we can still use non-cumulative data if needed.
    vertical line graph using non-cumulative data
    In the example above, we can keep track of how many sales a business receives per month. 

 

 

This step-by-step guide should be all you need to create a vertical line graph yourself in Google Sheets. Our guide shows how easy it is to modify your line graph chart to appear as if it were vertical.

The vertical line graph is just one way you can visualize your data with Google Sheets. With so many other Google Sheets features available, you have plenty of options for exploring your dataset.

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